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College Crosse Chat Vol. V: ESPN Analyst, Mark Dixon!!

In our fifth College Crosse Chat we chop it up with ESPN broadcast analyst and former Johns Hopkins University great, Mark Dixon and got his thoughts on the Quarterfinals and all the action this weekend.

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The NCAA Tournament was lit last weekend and it should be even better for the Quarterfinals. Here is the full tv schedule for all the games on Saturday and Sunday, courtesy of ESPN. (Ed. Note: Shout out to @Anna_Negron!)

Hopkins great, Mark Dixon, was gracious enough to answer some questions about this weekend's action for the Nation. Hope you all enjoy it.

Thanks again, Mark! Let's get after it.  (CC questions in bold.)

1. CC: Did any result surprise you from last weekend?

MD: Navy’s win over Yale surprised me the most. They didn’t look strong in their final three games prior to the NCAAs. I saw the Midshipmen looked tired and lethargic in their loss to Maryland. They followed that up with an uninspired win over Sacred Heart and a drubbing to Army in the Patriot League Tournament. I thought a Yale team coming off another Ivy League Tournament Championship, at home, would be too much for Navy. I was wrong.

2. CC: #FreePatSpencer?  Should the Loyola Freshman have been named a Tewaaraton Award finalist?  If you could change one thing about the Tewaaraton Award process, what would it be?

MD: If he would have been included I don’t think there would have been much protest. I was shocked when he wasn’t at least included on the list of 25 that came out in late April. The one thing I would change about the Tewaaraton Award process would be the voting. Have media votes similar to the Heisman Trophy in college football.

3.  CC: Which underdog has the best chance at upsetting a favorite this weekend and why?

MD: I would give that nod to North Carolina. It starts with Stephen Kelly at the faceoff dot. Kelly took all 35 of the faceoffs against the Irish last month and seemed to get stronger as the game went on. He’s the best lacrosse player that serves as a FOGO left in the tournament. If UNC can get possessions they will put a lot of pressure on a strong Notre Dame defensive unit. Even though the Heels haven’t been to Championship Weekend since 1993 the pressure is on Notre Dame, not them, to advance. A loose Carolina team is a dangerous one.

4.  CC: Navy pulled off a huge win last weekend over Yale, do you think they can do it again this weekend against Brown?  What does Brown have to do against Navy to ensure a trip to Philly?

MD: Of course Navy can do it again, but it will take another incredible effort. In order to avoid the same fate as Yale the Bears will need to face off well and get better goaltending. Navy has one of the best defenses in the nation so Brown will have to be smart but not stray from their up tempo identity. If Navy can slow them down it could spell trouble. Brown will want to jump out early as the Mids are not built to overcome four or five goal deficits. Look for Bruno to push the pace all over the field.

5.  CC: What match-up in the Syracuse vs. Maryland game are you looking forward to the most?

MD: I’m interested to see how Maryland elects to defend Sergio Salcido and Nick Mariano of Syracuse. Who gets the pole and who gets Isaiah Davis-Allen, one of the best short stick defensive midfielders around? The Terps run deep at LSM with Greg Danseglio, Bryce Young, and Mike McCarney. Each brings a different skill set. Salcido is a slasher and great shooter, Mariano a bulldozer and physical dodger. The pair are key to Syracuse’s offense.

6.  CC: What does Towson have to do to beat the Hounds?  What will Loyola have to do beat Towson?

MD: Replicate what they did back on March 2 when they won 10-8. It’s actually a pretty solid formula for the Tigers- great goaltending, solid defense, and efficient offense. Defensively they will have to limit Pat Spencer; they can’t let him be a one man wrecking crew as he has been the last couple of weeks. Towson is a blue collar team that works together as well as any team in the country. But the same can be said for Loyola. Freshman goalkeeper Jacob Stover didn’t play in the first meeting when the Greyhounds didn’t get good play in the goal. He will make a difference. Offensively Loyola will need to move Towson keeper Tyler White, who made 16 saves against the Hounds in March. They cannot allow him to get hot and be comfortable.

7.  CC: What are Carolina's biggest advantages over Notre Dame?  What's their biggest weakness incomparison to the Irish?

MD: Their biggest advantage is mental- they have nothing to lose. No one really expected this team to be in a position to get to Championship Weekend after the losses to graduation in 2015. You almost feel North Carolina is playing with house money. I also think they have better depth of scoring in the midfield. Their biggest weakness- Notre Dame is gunning for them following the late meltdown in the regular season. The Irish defense is a proud unitand is hungry to prove the first meeting was a fluke and return to Philadelphia. The Irish have also proven to be more consistent than UNC. It’s often not a guess on how they will play in any given game.

8.  CC: Would you mind sharing your picks for this weekend?

MD: Maryland, Brown, Notre Dame, & Loyola.

9.  CC: We love Philly and food here at College Crosse so I have to ask, excluding cheesesteaksestablishments, what's your favorite spot to eat in the city?

MD: Reading Terminal Market is a must. They have a little bit of everything and it’s a great atmosphere. The Pennsylvania Dutch stands tend to be my favorite. Morimoto has some of the best sushi I have ever had in my life.

(Ed. Note: Mark Dixon only speaks the truth. Reading Terminal is the place to be! Shout out, Vanna!!)

10.  CC: Aside from lacrosse/other sports, what are you watching right now?

MD: I’m working my way through season 4 of House of Cards. I love that show. As a family we try to watch the Goldbergs, Modern Family, and Blackish on Wednesdays. My wife and I are looking forward to a new season of Ray Donovan this summer.

Thank you so much, Mark!  We greatly appreciate you sparing the time to talk with us!